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Give veterans the opportunities they need

Veterans Day came and went Tuesday. The nation spent a day honoring and thanking the millions of men and women who have served, and continue to serve, their country.

Supporting veterans, young and old, should always be a top priority for communities across the country.

One of the hardest things for veterans is readjusting to civilian life after serving in a war zone. Finding a job, and keeping one, can be difficult.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks the unemployment rate for veterans, though it uses a small sample size. But the stats show veterans who served in the years since Sept. 11 have an unemployment rate that is much higher than the national average. The rate for these younger veterans was 10 percent in October while the national rate was 5.8 percent.

If veterans returning home from service don’t plan on going to college as part of the GI Bill, finding a steady job can be crucial to how they handle life after leaving the battlefield.

Businesses, large and small, local and national, need to make the extra effort to reach out to those who’ve served. And communities and local leaders need to support initiatives that assist veterans.

Thursday, a job fair was held at the former Salisbury Mall. It was labeled a “Veterans Appreciation and Community Job Fair” and organized by the NCWorks office in Rowan County. It may not seem like a lot, but it was an opportunity, and that’s all that some veterans need.

Gov. Pat McCrory was in Salisbury Monday to announce his new initiative to connect veterans with available resources. The program is called NC4VETS, and its goal is to be a one-stop shop where veterans can get all the information they need. There is a resource guide, a website — www.nc4vets.org — and a toll-free call center: (844) NC4-VETS.

“The NC4VETS initiative combines and simplifies the service offering from hundreds of federal, state, county and nonprofit programs in a way that has never been done before,” McCrory said.

In Salisbury, a large part of the economy is based on support for veterans. The W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center employs 2,000 people.

The benefits go both ways when people help people.

Let’s continue to make sure veterans are cared for and have access to the opportunities they need.

 

 

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